Published Nov 26, 2013Where's Werner Herzog when we need him? Probably making something with an ounce of artistic integrity instead of salvaging this weird-leaning but noncommittal and otherwise completely cookie-cutter piece of "get off my lawn because I have the right to shoot you in the face" swollen-testicle patriotism.
Homefront is a "mature" Jason Statham vehicle only slightly more watchable than the deplorable Parker, but with the presence of James Franco as a small town southern meth cook called Gator Bodine, it's a film ripe for knowing absurdity. Unfortunately, Franco seems unwilling to commit to going full-Cage (as in Nicholas) and director Gary Fleder (a lot of television and Kiss the Girls) displays no signs of having the iconoclastic bent necessary to encourage his cast to embrace the ridiculousness of the situation.
In a script by Sylvester Stallone adapted from the book by Chuck Hogan, Jason Statham stars as Phil Broker, an undercover cop trying to start a new life in the countryside after his involvement in taking down a biker gang from the inside finds him marked for violent reprisal of the "you're fucking dead" kind. So, with his young daughter in tow (the status of her mother is never addressed), Broker retires from law enforcement to work construction and go horseback riding in sunbeam-riddled pastoral bliss. Of course, a movie about a father watching his daughter sit on the back of a prancing four-legged animal wouldn't be terribly appealing to action fans, so our square-jawed hero runs afoul of the local criminal element early on.
An altercation in which Broker's slender daughter puts down a porky playground bully attracts the fidgety banshee attention of the boy's white trash meth-head momma (the as annoying as ever Kate Bosworth), who just so happens to be the sister of local drug kingpin, Gator. What starts as a failed shakedown attempt spirals out of control when Gator sees an opportunity to get in the good graces of organized crime — a connection that would greatly benefit his meth business.
If you've ever seen an action movie, you know pretty much exactly how it all turns out; the only question is how many skulls Broker will crack along the way and how well choreographed the fight scenes are. The answers: many and not very, respectively. Reliant on choppy editing, Fleder displays no artistry and little coherence in his ability to capture action. Moreover, except for the presence of Frank Grillo as a badass biker hitman, there's no sense that Broker or his daughter are ever in real danger. Sadly for fans of movies with personality, this by-the-books knuckle-dusting bullshit is afraid to embrace its inherent silliness.